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Lewis AllenSuddenly (1954)

something has gone horribly wrong 8-p
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"Three gunmen, who have been hired to assassinate the President, hold a family hostage while waiting for their target. Interesting B film which focuses on psychopathic killer well-portrayed against type by Frank Sinatra." - noir expert Spencer Selby |

Cast: Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden, James Gleason, Nancy Gates. 77 min.


This movie is part of the collection: Film Noir

Director: Lewis Allen
Production Company: Libra Productions Inc.
Audio/Visual: sound, b&w
Keywords: crime; drama; Frank Sinatra; Sterling Hayden; James Gleason; Nancy Gates; Kim Charney

Creative Commons license: Public Domain


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Reviews
Average Rating: 4.28 out of 5 stars4.28 out of 5 stars4.28 out of 5 stars4.28 out of 5 stars4.28 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: roy gabriel balraj - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - August 8, 2013
Subject: FAITH
Faith plays a crucial plot in this interesting movie. Style in its plot and it's actor/actress. All played their part well. Noted were some who looked like amateur but acted their part well. This movie will keep you watching to the end. No unnecessary scene and all the script were logical and real. Really enjoyed watching this movie, so would you.

Reviewer: drkstrcrashes - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - June 20, 2013
Subject: excellent B movie
I agree with the points that "flambu" points out, but you need to suspend your disbelief. This is a low budget Hollywood movie and it completely does what it intends which is to let us escape from life for one short hour. The characters are all very real and of the time. I loved the guy that comes to repair the television. Anyone remember the days when you bought something from Sears and they would send s serviceman out for any repairs. Like even an old guitar amp! Probably not a film nior, but I started to watch this movie intending to watch five minutes of it and I ended up watching the entire film. Yes, not everything is true to real life. You need to allow for some grey areas, but it truly built up the suspence and came to an excellent climax. I assume these were the types of pictures Frank was doing just before From Here To Eternity. This is a lost gem of a movie even if it is a true B-Movie,.

Reviewer: Superspurs - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - March 23, 2011
Subject: Suddenly
An excellent Sinatra movie, if anything a lost classic. Loved it to bits and have watched it a few times and slowly becoming a big fave with me.

Reviewer: pierce26 - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - February 6, 2011
Subject: Sound issue with movie
I've seen this one before, average, in my opinion. But more importantly..the sound and video on this stream are way off. The sound is several seconds ahead. Can we please look into repairing this?

Reviewer: sciwriter - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - December 13, 2010
Subject: Superb story & bacting
Predicted JFK assassination.

Reviewer: fflambeau - 1.00 out of 5 stars - December 12, 2010
Subject: "Suddenly" Is NOT a Film Noir
No way that "Suddenly" is a film noir, it's a run of the mill crime movie. While film noir has no precise definition, film noir movies usually contain several of the following:

1) femme fatale character. Think Barbara Stanwyck in "Double Indemnity". In "Suddenly", by contrast, the only female lead is a stereotyped widow, sweet as can be.

2) big city streets, usually filmed at night. Think "Crime Wave" (also starring the underrated Sterling Hayden). Instead, in this movie, we get small town California in the day time.

3) a character/characters boxed in by fate. Think of the male lead in Detour (1945). Nobody is in any way like that here (being a psyco doesn't qualify).

4) corruption whether individual, in a profession, or pervasively through society or a state. Think of the corrupt cop Orson Welles played in "Touch of Evil" one of the top 2 film noir movies ever made. The cop here (Sterling Hayden) by contrast is a paragon of virtue, much like the female lead.

5) dark, German expressionist scenes, moody lighting. Again, think "They Live by Night" or "The Hunter" or "Touch of Evil." Nothing like that in this sunny and pretty straightforward movie.

6) Here are two things in "Suddenly" that are absent in film noir: patriotism (note the actors almost genuflect when they mention the president). In film noir, society is corrupt through and through but not in this movie. And sweet little kids.

Some other points. Lot's of people here think Sinatra was terrific: I thought his acting was forced and hackneyed. Sterling Hayden made him look like an amateur.

Also, there were some real problems in this movie:

A) grandpa is supposed to be an expert on electricity but he worked on an open back of a t.v. Even though he got jolted with 500 watts of juice, nothing happened to him. The same amount killed one of the gunmen.

B) How stupid could Sinatra have been to not have seen the connection between the t.v. and mount of his gun and not know what would happen?

C) How stupid could assassins be to mistake a cap gun for a real gun and a real gun for a cap gun? Sinatra was supposed to be a killer in the army. This makes no sense.

D) The long gun that Sinatra used was not a machine gun. Yet when one of his gang gets electrocuted the gun acts like a machine gun!

E) the head of the secret service detail was gone so long that it should have aroused more suspicions than it did.

F) the gang member sent by Sinatra to check out what's happening down at the train station gets questioned by a policeman. Although he's dressed as an FBI agent and earlier posed as one, he tells a local cop he's a tourist! Very dumb and completely unbelievable.

There are so many problems with the plot and sloppy directing that I only gave one star to this movie despite Sterling Hayden turning in a very good performance.

Reviewer: patt17 - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - February 25, 2010
Subject: Key Largo 50s-style
Despite another reviewer's comment that there are no surprises (NOT true) and stereotypical roles (not sure what else they could be under the circumstances, but they all give solid performances), this is a compelling drama that is worth a watch if for no other reason than Sinatra's fine portrayal of a psychokiller. If you'd like to see Sterling Hayden really stretch HIS acting muscles, you'll have to check out Dr. Strangelove. "Don't think you're God because you have a gun"; when you see how it turns out, you'll know why.

Reviewer: Love Those Movies - - November 30, 2009
Subject: Same problem
I have the same problem as bluegrasstracks. The 4.2 gig file won't download.

Reviewer: keygrip - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - August 30, 2009
Subject: it's in the wrong category
This is a well known decently made crime drama (definately not film noir). Not seen for many years after Dallas 1963.
Good performances by Sinatra and the underrated Steling Hayden.
Not much else to shout about.

Reviewer: SonOfChaos - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - July 14, 2009
Subject: Good yet not suprising film.
Calling this a preachy morality play would be an insult to morality plays that are preachy, yet the film undeniably wears its beliefs proudly if not flippantly within the first five minutes.

'Suddenly' is the stories of three criminals who attempt to kill the president. Their plan is to invade a home overlooking a train station in a small town where the president was to switch vehicles giving an open open shot. Unfortunately the criminals decided that shooting from an overlooking hill was not enough, they decided to use a house that is the retirement home of a former Secret Service man. Also at this home is his widowed daughter and her son. Conveniently, she happens to be dating the town's biggest lawman.

'Suddenly' had a cast of skilled actors doing their jobs and doing it well. The acting performances were solid but this does not detract from the fact that the characters never really transcended the film. Frank was clearly the most flushed out character and even his was nothing more than a blatant stereotype that simply seems silly. Sadly, the actors truly were of a caliber above this material. If the main characters were renamed 'loving anti-gun mother', 'typical gun loving boy', 'do-gooder lawman', 'retired old man', 'psycho baddie', 'valuable baddie', and 'less valuable baddie', the film would have lost no depth and become no less believable. The ending was not surprising in the least.

Despite all of these shortcomings, the film does fulfill one critical role, it is entertaining and watchable. It is very very comfortably paced and can be best described as riding a new roller-coaster that looks like all of its sections are just like other coasters, cause they are.

--Four out of Five stars cause of actors talent, good pacing, lost a star for badly dated writing and oversimplified characters. Check it out.

2009

Reviewer: 1StepBeyond - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - July 13, 2009
Subject: Suddenly the past looks very good
Sinatra gives an excellent performance of a twisted mentality with an assassin's gun in his hand. Small town America in the fifties is catpured as well as the viewing audience, then and now.

Reviewer: inselpeter - 2.00 out of 5 stars2.00 out of 5 stars - July 5, 2009
Subject: 'Key Largo' meets 'Leave it to Beaver'
Sinatra's performance is worth the watch.

Reviewer: Richard Diamond - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - April 21, 2009
Subject: Sinatra owns it
This movie would have been a forgotten cornball drag without Frankie's edge. Divorced from Ava Gardner, in terminal career tailspin and fighting for traction all must have driven his fierce performance. He’s a fascinating maniacal demon trapped in a whitebread swamp.

Reviewer: bluegrasstracks - - April 21, 2009
Subject: Problem with MPEG-2
Has anyone else had a problem downloading the MPEG-2 version? I have tried numerous times and keep getting an error saying that "the HTTP header is invalid". I can download the other versions fine. I would really like to get the MPEG-2 version, if possible.

Reviewer: ferri_one - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - March 13, 2009
Subject: Great movie!
i could watch this again easily. great plot and wonderful acting.

Reviewer: zythmer - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - August 17, 2008
Subject: Worth seeing if you skip the beginning
First, a response to a few prior posts. I'm using Debian and I can play the MPEG-2 file just fine with mplayer and vlc. Also, the MPEG-2 file is 4.2 GB and contains the complete movie.

I found the initial part of the movie painful to watch. The dialog was dry and I guess standard for the times. Do yourself a favor and skip ahead through the initial parts. Once Frank Sinatra enters the picture in a meaningful way, you can stop there.

I enjoyed watching Frank Sinatra play a criminal. Aside from the sometimes boring dialog in the movie, the middle to end was enjoyable.

Reviewer: bobair - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - February 10, 2008
Subject: Suddenly is Superb
This is an highly entertaining film that is now more than 50 years old.This the first time I have ever seen this movie and was I ever glad that I did.Old blue eyes sure can play the part of a gun crazy criminal in a cold blooded way as he got the taste for killing while a soldier during ww2 and liked it so very much as the gun makes him feel like a "somebody".The way this film ends is brilliant and I will not give it away as you should see it for yourself.Two thumbs up for this original flick!

Bob

Reviewer: sparkletack - - December 19, 2007
Subject: anyone else had problems with the MPEG2 file?
I'm seeing incredible jerkiness, which I've never seen in a movie downloaded from this site.

I'm using the latest version of the VLC Media player, and have fooled around with every setting I could find. Nothing could make it watchable.

Rats! I was really looking forward to this one!

Reviewer: flapfrog - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - October 26, 2007
Subject: what's next?
frank sinatra plays the bad guy in this one. as the movie progresses, you find yourself saying, "what will happen next?" i burned it to dvd and the quality is great

Reviewer: del.cop - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - October 22, 2007
Subject: wonderful film
great suspense filled film wiht just the right touch of reality and thrills.

Reviewer: MsCartoonGeek - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - September 25, 2007
Subject: Sinatra is awesome...
Sinatra does Noir, and man, he makes it his. Yes indeed, this has weird resonances when you consider the parallels between the scenario and the "lone gunman" scenario of the JFK Assassination. A bugged-out veteran, paid by shadowy figures who are never identified, is given the mission of shooting the current President. A Middle American family has the house on high ground he needs to accomplish his task. There is a lot of Cold War propaganda in this too...mom is a "bleeding heart liberal" who doesn't allow her son to play with guns. Genuine suspense, crisp storytelling, strong acting not just from Don Sinatra but from everyone else. Must see!

Reviewer: Cat Lady - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - September 15, 2007
Subject: Good movie
This is the first Sinatra film I've ever seen. He got great lines ("You've got duty in your eyes"; "Don't...please, don't", as just two examples), and his character's psychopathic explanation of why he took the job will just blow you away; but he also works very well with the rest of the cast, never taking the whole show over, and he helps move the story along without saying or doing much at all, for instance, where the policeman tells the lady Sinatra is going to kill them all anyway to not leave any witnesses, and Sinatra lies and says they're going to leave immediately after the hit and catch a plane before anyone can contact the law to identify them: you know he's lying, and you know the lady wants to believe him and does. Things like that really add to the impact of this picture. The pacing is very good, in line with the "suddenly" theme. The rest of the cast and direction is good, too, for example, the scene where Sinatra has the lady go outside when one of the Secret Service people comes up to find his chief (murdered by Sinatra); she's incredibly nervous but plays the role to protect her son and unwittingly gives the Secret Service agent the wrong but very believable explanation for her nervousness by blurting out that she fears something is terribly wrong. He thinks she's just upset by the sudden appearance of heavy security in town, reassures her, and goes away, leaving her in Sinatra's hands.

I didn't know when watching this that Sinatra had pulled this movie out of circulation after the JFK assassination (which is why it is in the public domain now), but I still got very uncomfortable at some of the parallels: the window looking down an angle to where the president would be in a limousine; and the rifle, which strongly resembles the one Oswald actually used, though I'm not familiar enough with rifles to say anything about the details of each. I can understand why Sinatra pulled it, but I'm glad it's still around for us to see today.

Reviewer: clemenza44 - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - June 29, 2007
Subject: Excellently done and enjoyable
One of Frank Sinatra's best roles and an easy film to enjoy. Also made good use of character development. I liked the dialogue Sinatra was given, esp. some of the lines about how holding a gun made you a god. But, his character's overconfidence brought him down in the end. Well worth watching several times.

Reviewer: specs - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - March 8, 2007
Subject: another film of Hayden
You frogot to mention the film with Allied Artists called Kanas Pacific. It was released in Cinecolor. You people at IA have the film, but not the color print. Why?

Reviewer: rrhobbs - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - July 12, 2006
Subject: Suddenly
Believable, engaging story and acting-

Interesting to watch Sinatra as a baddie.

-RH

Reviewer: Danial - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - July 9, 2006
Subject: Most enjoyable!
Well worth the watch.

Reviewer: Mr.Sinatra - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - July 2, 2006
Subject: Suddenly
The whole story is fantasticly suspensful.

Sinatra is good in this movie, i agree, but his best acting was in From Here to Eternity where he won an award for his acting skills.

Reviewer: someguy2 - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - November 23, 2005
Subject: kept me riveted
Gotta like old blue-eyes. The plot could have gone in almost any direction, so unguessable suspense.
Refreshingly adult bias about how many facets there are to guns beyond todays prohibition or taxation of all 'bad' things.
Ok, I admit it. One of the stars was for pro-2nd ammendment.

Reviewer: kareneliot - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - November 4, 2005
Subject: Timeless Classic.
It took a few minutes to get going, but it turns into a really great movie. Full of suspensful intrigue, great plot/dialogue, and acceptable acting.

Reviewer: Tom Knight - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - August 31, 2005
Subject: Not the full film?
The MPEG2 version appears to be only 178MB, not several GB.

Reviewer: FlyingMonkeyRecords - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - June 22, 2005
Subject: A great movie
Sinatra becomes an actor in this film. It has a deliberate pace not found in newer movies, but the power must be recognized.

I saw this on the late show a long time ago and have been searching for it ever since.

Reviewer: RetPD1949 - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - May 8, 2005
Subject: Great Frank Sinatra Vehicle (1954)
Pre 'Manchurian Candidate' Sinatra film regarding an attempted assassination by a paid hit man. This time of a President (Eisenhower?) by a slightly crazy character played by Sinatra.

Lee Harvey Oswald was supposed to have seen this film weeks before his assassination of President Kennedy, which caused Frank Sinatra to 'pull' this film.

Sterling Hayden plays a small town sheriff who must stop the assassination.

Interesting film, and what is the motive?